Cut Your Hospital's Energy Bills with These Award-Winning Ideas

Scott Wallask, for HealthLeaders Media , July 21, 2009

It may seem that going green is an effort bound to take a hit during this recession. However, that's not necessarily true.

There are financial benefits to becoming more environmentally friendly, say the two winners of this year's Practice Greenhealth Environmental Leadership Circle Award.

"For the most part, all of our environmental efforts have saved us money," says John Ebers, sustainable business officer at Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming, MI, one of the facilities that received the award. "Some of [our efforts] take a longer-term view … but I think that speaks volumes about our organization."

The Environmental Leadership Circle Award—Practice Greenhealth's highest honor—goes to hospitals setting the highest standards for environmental practices. Practice Greenhealth is a national association that promotes environmentally beneficial efforts in healthcare.

Greening your hospital and changing habits don't happen quickly, but there are some higher-reward items to go after first—namely, more efficient energy use and recycling more material instead of throwing it in the trash barrel, says Dawn LeBaron, vice president of hospital services at Fletcher Allen Health Care of Burlington, VT, the other award winner.
Fletcher Allen had a recycling program in its business and physician office for some time, but LeBaron and her colleagues recently pushed it further, getting recycling bins for newspapers and medical supplies in patient rooms. They also chase down and recycle IV bags and blue wrap in which sterile supplies come packaged.

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